Animated adventure amuses but doesn't live up to its title.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: May 22, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Epic aims to teach young viewers the importance of the forest and its fauna and flora. Even the slugs play an important role in the maintenance of the forest. The characters also teach kids why they should pay attention to their elders and live up to their potential.

Positive messages

Positive messages about children trusting their parents, the maturity it takes to stop thinking of just yourself and doing what's best for your people, the vital part that every creature plays in the thriving of a forest, and the necessity of teamwork to overcome various obstacles.

Positive role models

M.K. realizes that her father is right about the Leafmen and decides to help, even though she's scared and doesn't at first understand the tiny fantastical world she's thrust into. Nod stops doing things just for himself or his own glory and commits himself to the Leafmen and their creed when M.K. needs help.

Violence & scariness

A couple of characters (both "good" and "evil") die in battle from arrow wounds and falling to their death. The Leafmen and the Boggans fight in armed formations. The Boggans can cause plants to die with rot, and their goal is to make the forest a wasteland with nothing but rot and death. A character is presumed dead but is just gravely injured. There are several "close calls" when it seems like it's the end for sympathetic/favorite characters.

Sexy stuff

Queen Tara and Ronin, head of the Leafmen, flirt and embrace. Later in the movie, M.K. and Nod clearly show an interest in each other and end up kissing once. The slug Mub keeps flirting with M.K. and trying to convince her to "get with him."


Insults like "stupid," "idiot," "jerk," and "crazy."


An iPod plays an important role and the logo is partially visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Epic is an animated adventure from the same studio behind the Ice Age franchise and Rio. Part eco-friendly tale and part tiny-creatures story, Epic (which was inspired by the characters in William Joyce's children's book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs) centers on a teen girl who's magically shrunk into the world of miniscule armed archers called Leafmen who protect the forest from evil. There's a central good vs. evil theme, as well as a parent vs. adolescent storyline that should appeal to kids, but know that there are definitely battles and even a small body count (mostly due to arrows). The main villain is merciless and believes that it's his mission to destroy the forest and rule over a rotting wasteland. In addition to the violence, there's a romantic nature to two relationships in the movie, as well as several flirty (and snotty) jokes courtesy of a slug voiced by Aziz Ansari. Expect some insult language ("stupid," "idiot," etc.).

What's the story?

After her mother dies, teenager Mary Katherine, aka M.K. (voiced by Amanda Seyfried), goes to live with her estranged father, Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), a disgraced professor who's convinced that the forests are inhabited by tiny creatures, including armed warrior guards. M.K., like her late mother, thinks her obsessed father is mentally ill ... until she witnesses the death of the tiny forest queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles), who entrusts her with the care of a magical bulb that must bloom in that very night's moonlight. Shrunken in the process, M.K. is confused but quickly realizes that her father is right, thanks to the head of the Leafmen, Ronin (Colin Farrell), and his rebellious protege, Nod (Josh Hutcherson), who guard M.K. and the bulb in the hopes of keeping it away from the forest's archenemy, Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), leader of the Boggans -- nefarious creatures who cause rot and destruction. Because if Mandrake and the Boggans can capture the bulb, the forest will turn into a barren wasteland.

Is it any good?


Visually, EPIC captures the beauty of the lush forest in which the majority of the characters live: the greens and browns and vibrant flower palettes are beautiful, and the way that light and dark (the Boggans make everything an ash gray) are used is inspired. The voice actors are all fittingly cast, particularly the comic relief provided by slug-snail pals Mub and Grub (Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd). Farrell is exceptionally believable as a stoic warrior, as is Hutcherson as an orphaned teen who's a gifted fighter but who has trouble following directions. The weak link in casting is Waltz, whose unique Austrian accent works scarily well in live action but has less impact when he's in animated form.

Plot wise, there's also something missing from the story. Epic feels overlong and overly reminiscent of several other animated movies, like The Secret World of Arrietty, Happy Feet, and Antz. The romantic elements seem unnecessary as well, with M.K. and Nod falling into infatuation a bit too quickly and without any of the sweet banter that makes movies like Shrek and Tangled so good. Despite these shortcomings, the movie is just funny and exciting enough to keep kids and parents entertained. But Epic never quite lives up to its riskily self-indulgent title.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss how Epic's violence and action compare to other animated movies you've seen. Does it have less impact because many of the characters are fictional creatures and talking animals?

  • Do you think the romantic subplots (between the queen and the captain or Nod and M.K.) added much to the story? Would the story have been just as good if Nod and M.K. were just good friends?

  • Although author William Joyce is a co-writer of the film and the Leafmen are based on his book, the rest of the characters don't have anything to do with the original story. Is it confusing when a movie is loosely inspired by a book but doesn't follow the story closely? (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is another example.)

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 24, 2013
DVD release date:August 20, 2013
Cast:Amanda Seyfried, Beyonce Knowles, Josh Hutcherson
Director:Chris Wedge
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Science and nature
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild action, some scary images and brief rude language

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 7 year old Written bywill'smom May 27, 2013

Girl Friendly does not equal Girly

Very enjoyable. Agree that this is not the newest plot line you've ever seen and that the little kiss/ romantic hint between the heroine and younger hero was unnecessary. For our family, the scene of Queen Tara dying was the hardest - empathetic children may be affected by this one. That said, the strong female leads were great. While "romantic" they were certainly not fawning-wait for rescue types. Love that the movie ends setting a 3rd female up to be the heroine of the future. Overall, we enjoyed it and i would recommend it easily.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent Written byDan G. May 27, 2013

Might be the best family movie of the summer

My wife and I took our 8 year old to see this movie and we all enjoyed it very much. The storyline was engaging, the characters were relatively well developed. The voice acting was excellent and the animation was very good. There is no real objectionable material. The evil guys are probably too much for pre-schoolers, there is a much tension and menace, and the animated characters get beat up pretty good in the movie, both the good and the bad.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written bycourtwork May 25, 2013

Creative and light - great for little ones 5 -7 and up, depending on your kids

This movie is very creative and light. In my opinion, it's great for kids 7 and up, and may be fine for younger, depending on your kid(s). The "bad guys" can be creepy looking and threatening, but mild by comparison to many other PG or even G (Disney) movie bad guy characters. We took three 10 year old boys, who all enjoyed it, although they weren't pumping their fists the way they would have been leaving Ironman 3 (some of them are not allowed to see PG-13 movies yet). I found the animation to be beautiful, the story line sweet, and the characters appealing. It was very creatively done and visually delightful. Little girls will like the imagery of the flowers and the queen, and there are several strong female characters. Little boys will like the battle scenes and the mischievous but honorable protagonist, as well as his mentor. There were quite a few small children in the audience, and I never heard anyone screaming in fear, which is always refreshing! There are undertones of romance between some of the characters, but it all stays pretty tame. I give this one two thumbs up and kudos to the creative team and all of the actors for making a beautiful film that parents can take kids to without cringing!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex


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